Horsham mum banned from roads for drug-driving on school run

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A Horsham woman was banned from the roads for crashing her car and testing positive for cocaine while driving her nine-year-old son to school.

The case has been publicised by Sussex Police this week on the anniversary of new laws being brought in to tackle drug-drivers.

On March 2 2015, the government approved limits for a number of illegal and legal drugs, making it a criminal offence to drive while over the limit.

Among the motorists that have been disqualified from driving in the last 12 months is Kellie Keating, of Kennedy Road, Horsham.

A Sussex Police spokesperson said she was arrested on October 8, after the Alfa Romeo she was driving narrowly avoided colliding with other vehicles, including a police car, on the A23 at Pyecombe.

She was also witnessed by an officer swerving between lanes and careering into a grass bank, causing a tyre to burst, before turning sharply into Pyecombe service station, the spokesperson said.

A drug wipe was carried out and the 44-year-old tested positive for cocaine.

At Brighton Magistrates’ Court on December 3, she pleaded guilty to driving with 57mg of benzoylecgonine per litre of blood in her system. The legal limit is 50mg.

She was disqualified from driving for 30 months, and ordered to pay a £150 criminal courts charge, a £110 fine, £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

She is one of 295 drivers to be arrested in relation to drug-driving in Sussex between March 2 2015 and February 29 2016.

Sergeant Phil Badman, of the Surrey and Sussex Police Roads Policing Unit, said: “The consequences of drug-driving can be lethal. Substances - both legal and illegal - can seriously impair your ability to drive, which could cause a serious or even a fatal collision.

“But there’s also a knock-on effect - a conviction is likely to increase the cost of your car insurance, you could lose your job and you could have difficulty travelling to other countries. Above all, drug-driving is not a risk worth taking.

“We have a duty and a commitment to keep the roads in Sussex safe, and as such we take a zero tolerance approach to drug-driving. Anyone caught committing the offence will be dealt with accordingly.”

Since February last year, police have also had a new tool at their disposal to crackdown on drug-drivers. The roadside drug wipe testing kit takes a swab from the motorist and can detect cocaine or cannabis use within 10 minutes.

Any individual convicted of drug-driving faces a minimum 12-month disqualification, an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison and a criminal record.

In addition, information about a drug-driving conviction will remain on your licence for 11 years.

The penalty for causing death by dangerous driving under the influence of drugs is up to 14 years in prison.

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